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Places to visit in Tirunelveli

Discussion in 'Tamil Nadu' started by DollyBassi, Nov 4, 2016.

  1. DollyBassi

    DollyBassi New Member

    I am going to Tirunelveli with my family, and we are currently in the process of putting the trip plans together. We would like some help with the places to visit in Tirunelveli, so we know how many days we should stay there and also be aware of any places which we should be visiting and do not know about.

    I had joined the forum so that I would get a better response to my query rather than from other sites. I hope I would not be disappointed.
     


  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

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    (Images from Wikimedia, Wikimedia, Wikimedia and Wikimedia)

    Overview

    Little known as a tourist destination, Tirunelveli is one of Tamil Nadu's largest cities. Scholars believe that Tirunelveli, also known as Nellai, is one of the oldest cities of Tamil Nadu, after Madurai. The city lies on the western bank of the Tamirabarani river, just opposite its twin city, Palayamkottai. While Tirunelveli isn't as fully developed as Chennai, it has its own charm, especially for the devout Hindus. This city is the base for many temple excursions just a few hours away from it. In Tirunelveli itself, there are some temples that you can explore. Aside from its religious sites, Tirunelveli has beautiful natural attractions which makes it a great getaway for those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city life.

    Places to Visit in Tirunelveli

    Religious
    • Nellaiappar Kanthimathi Temple - Located in the centre of Tirunelveli itself is the Nellaiappar Kanthimathi Temple, it is about two kilometres away from the Tirunelveli Junction Railway Station. This temple is dedicated to both Nellaiappar (Lord Shiva) and his consort, Kanthimathi (Goddess Parvati). It has a huge and colourful gopuram, visible from a distance from the temple. The temple premises is quite huge too, occupying about 14 acres in land. The shrines dedicated for Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi are separated by the Nada Mani Mandapam, which are two huge pillars divided into smaller sections. Each section produces a different musical note, a unique feature of the temple itself. Also within the temple premises is a thousand pillared hall, which continues to attract devotees with its intricate sculptures. You need to allot at least two hours to fully explore the temple premises because every nook and corner here deserves your attention.
    • Kurukkuthurai Murugan Temple - This temple is about four kilometres away from the Tirunelveli Junction Railway Station. Because of its location in the middle of the Tamirabarani river, the temple becomes submerged in water during heavy rains of the monsoon season. The temple is connected to the banks by a stone bridge. It's not unusual to find locals swimming on the water or even pilgrims taking a dip in it. The lower floors of the temple are submerged under the water usually, while its main sanctum can still be visited as it is the only one located above water. Its facade is a combination of red and white, with a golden spire that looks out to the pilgrims.
    • Thiruvenkatanathapuram Mela Vishnu Temple - This temple is located just 10 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. As compared to the other temples, this one is fairly newer, built 700 years ago by Venkatappa Nayakar. The temple is revered holy by many couples who were able to have children after paying their respects to the temple's deity. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkatachalapathy and his consorts, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.
    • Krishnapuram Venkatachalapathi Temple - This temple is located 13 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. From the outside, the temple looks quite unassuming, much like a normal temple. But the real beauty of the temple lies inside, as you marvel in its life-sized and intricate sculptures. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkatachalapati, but there are also shrines for his consorts, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. From its outer corridor, you can find statues of nomads and gypsies, even an archer so intricately carved that even his bow has a hole in it. The expressions of the statues are very much life-like that it makes you wonder just how much time the sculptor spent to perfect these structures.
    • Valliyur Murugan Temple - A bit further away from Tirunelveli, about 40 kilometres, is Valliyur. This is where the rock cut temple, named as the Valliyur Murugan Temple, can be found. The temple was built amidst a hill, with the main sanctum enshrined upon a cave. It is dedicated to Lord Murugan and his consort, Valli. The temple itself is very simple but scenic, as the views of the distant mountains lure you in. Many devotees visit this temple as it is believed to be a wish-granting temple.
    • Thirupudaimaruthur Temple - This temple is located about 40 kilometres to the north of Tirunelveli. Just outside the temple, there's a small bathing ghat where devotees can bathe before proceeding for darshan. There are many legends associated with this temple one of which is that the area where it is located used to be filled with Marudha trees. Once, a king struck a deer with an arrow and it hid in one of the trees, only to be found as a Shivalinga inside. The Shivalinga of the temple is believed to still have this arrow mark and is revered so sacred by locals. Interestingly, the Shivalingam is also leaning to the left side, a strange phenomenon also associated with another legend. Such stories make the Thirupudaimaruthur Temple a must visit when in Tirunelveli.
    • Thirukkurungudi Temples - Thirukkurungudi is about 43 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. It has five temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu namely: Thirukkurungudi Temple, Thiruparkadal Nambi Temple, Malaimel Nambi Temple, Thiruvattaparai Temple and Thirumangai Alwar Tiruvarasu. The main one is the Thirukkurungudi Temple, where Lord Vishnu is manifested in three different positions. Both the Thiruparkadal Nambi Temple and Malaimel Nambi Temple have Lord Vishnu in two different manifestations too. The last two temples are equally important and scenic, although they don't have Lord Vishnu in different Nambhi positions. Said to be the home of Lord Vishnu in South India, the Thirukkurungudi Temples deserve a visit too when in Tirunelveli.
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    Thirukkurungudi Temple (Image from A Wandering Mind)
    • Kalakkad Sathyavageeswarar Temple - Kalakkad is about 45 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. This is the home to the Kalakkad Sathyavageeswarar Temple, which is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The main attraction of the temple is its huge gopuram, with sculptures of different manifestations of Hindu deities. The interiors are also intricately carved, with musical pillars and also highly decorative murals. The main sanctum has shrines dedicated to both Lord Shiva and Ambal.
    • Sri Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple - This temple is about 50 kilometres away from Tirunelveli, en route to Papanasam Dam. This is perhaps the temple with the most picturesque location. It is set amidst rocky terrains, with a stream flowing nearby and approachable through a small bridge. The temple is dedicated to Ayyappan, manifested in his signature sitting pose in the main sanctum. In the temple, Ayyappan is referred to as Ayyanar and also present are his consorts, Poorna and Pushkala. While the temple is very simple, the views are very scenic, especially during a clear day. Don't forget to visit the supposed bell-eating tree here, where you can find half-digested bells in the tree's trunk.
    • Sankarankovil Temple - Further away from Tirunelveli, about 64 kilometres, is Sankarankovil. The Sankarankovil Temple has a huge creamy white gopuram filled with sculptures of Hindu deities. The temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Sankaranarayana (Form of Both Shiva and Vishnu) and the ever present consort of Shiva, Parvati. The temple has different sanctums, the first one is dedicated to Shiva as the Shankaralingaswamy, the second one is dedicated to Shiva as Sankaranarayana and the third one is dedicated to Parvati as Gomathi Amman. There are also smaller shrines dedicated to other Hindu deities around the temple premises. Worthy of mentioning is the second sanctum dedicated to Sankaranarayana where numerous murals are depicted in the walls.
    • Nava Kailasam Temples - Last on this section is the Nava Kailasam Temples, a series of nine ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, spread around Tirunelveli. All these temples are located close to the banks of the Tamirabarani river and you can complete the circuit in a day or two. These nine temples are comprised of: Sri Papanasa Nathar Temple (Papanasam), Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Cheran Mahadevi), Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Kodaganallur), Sri Kotha Parameswarar Temple (Konnathur), Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Murappanadu), Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Srivaikundam), Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Thenthirupperai), Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Raajapathy) and Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple (Saendha Poomangalam). The nine Shivalingas of these temples were installed by the Sage Uromacha and it is also in the Tamirabarani river that he attained moksha, hence these temples are revered sacred by Hindu devotees.
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    Sri Kailasa Nathar Temple in Kodaganallur (Image from Deva Boomi)

    Waterfalls
    • Agasthiyar Waterfalls - About four kilometres away from Papanasam is the Agasthiyar Waterfalls. Falling at a height of about 100 metres, the waterfalls look even more majestic during monsoon season. It is part of a reserve forest, hence it is well-maintained and clean. It requires a 10-minute trek to reach from the parking area of the premises. Or you can opt for the trail, which is about three kilometres long, perfect for adventure lovers. The waterfalls is not that high but it has full water any time of the year. The small pool formed underneath it is believed to heal the ailments of devotees too.
    • Manimuthar Waterfalls - The Manimuthar Waterfalls is located a bit further away from Tirunelveli, about 47 kilometres away. Because of its location, this attraction isn't as visited as much by tourists. It is set amidst dense forests, giving it a more isolated and natural appearance. The water does not fall from a huge height but the water is as crystal clear as can be. While you can swim in the pool underneath the waterfalls, the current can be strong so do so at your own risk.
    Dams
    • Manimuthar and Papanasam Dams - Both these dams are about 50 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. You can view the dams from a close distance since swimming is not permitted in any of them. When water is high, boating is allowed but that depends on the water level during the time of your visit. Of these two, the Manimuthar Dam has more greenery surrounding it. The view of the surrounding forests and mountains along with the water is quite the best picture opportunity for photographers.
    • Karaiyar Dam - Another picturesque water reservoir is the Karaiyar Dam, about 50 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. Before, boating was allowed here which would take you to another waterfall, the Banatheertham Waterfalls. Recently though, this activity was banned and the waterfalls was closed to the public. You can still visit the dam though and enjoy the views or take pictures. But entry to the dam itself is already prohibited and so are the boating activities.
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    Karaiyar Dam (Image from Wikimedia)

    Wildlife
    • Kalakkad Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary - Last but not the least is the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary, located about 45 kilometres away from Tirunelveli. This is the second largest protected area in the state of Tamil Nadu. The presence of the numerous rivers and streams in the wildlife sanctuary has allowed for the living of many wild animals as well. The forests here are dense and green so it's hard to spot the wild animals residing in the area. However, the thrill and excitement is still there especially as you await the sighting of the royal Bengal tigers, leopards, elephants, sambars, sloth bears and lion-tailed macaques. In some parts of the sanctuary, trekking is allowed, as long as you obtain prior permission from the forest officials.
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    Kalakkad Mundanthurai Wildlife Sanctuary (Image from Afreen Travel Bug)

    Conclusion

    A little under the radar of tourists, Tirunelveli is a must visit especially for those who are devout Hindus. The temples here are not only religious sites but also historical sites as they were built hundreds of years ago, some Shivalingams are even believed to be thousand years old already. Filled with natural greenery, Tirunelveli is a delight for the nature lovers too. And if you adore scenic water reservoirs, there are many of them around the ancient city too. Good luck and enjoy your stay in Tirunelveli!
     

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